Board to consider new name for Lindley Hall


The inclusion of people of color on the school’s various athletic teams was not always seen as normal. During the time of segregation, these students did not receive the same freedoms. The Harvey County Historical Museum recounted experiences shared by African American students in the class of 1948 in Our Journey: 50th Reunion Book NHS 1948-1998. While there are plenty of happy memories throughout the book, the hardest stories revolved around the basketball team ran by coach Frank Lindley. 

You might recognize the name from the Santa Fe 5/6 Center’s main gym, Lindley Hall, named after Lindley himself. Although Lindley had a career record of 594-118, 8 state titles and 8 state runner-up titles, the man behind the name of the building implemented policies that do not reflect well on him.

In October of last year, school board member Angela Becker first became aware of the negative connotation surrounding Lindley Hall after being approached by an educator looking for a job in the district. 

“That person [the educator] actually told me that part of their research about whether or not they were going to take the job in this district was the research about Lindley Hall and it kind of shocked them that we would have a building named after Frank Lindley after some of the things he did in regards to the basketball team when he was the coach,” Becker said. 

In February of this year an article come out from the Harvey County Historical Museum, providing perspectives of African American students. This article prompted board member Toby Tyner to suggest a change, although the topic was never discussed. 

At the Sept. 9 board meeting, Becker questioned what had become of the topic and asked that it be added to the agenda of matters to discuss. Treaster approved the request and the topic has been added to the tomorrows Sept. 23 board meeting.

“I think having a building named after you is an honor and it is a representation of our values as a community. And I don’t think segregation is something that Newton still values, so it’s time to reevaluate that name,” Becker said. “Obviously, with a quick google search, you can clearly see the history of Frank Lindley and some of his segregational practices on the basketball team.”

In the meantime, Becker recommends students and community members that feel passionately about the topic to contact the board and attending board meetings.

“I think a really good example of how students can use their power was at the end of last school year when the district was considering changing the weighted grading system. A lot of parents and educators and students showed up at our board meeting and voiced their opinion and that kind of made us reevaluate a decision that we were about to make,” Becker said. “You definitely have power, you definitely have a voice in the process and I encourage you to use it.”